The Day of the Seafarer, held on 25 June every year, draws global attention to the contribution that seafarers make to world trade. As the world slowly moves through the pandemic, it is more important than ever not only to acknowledge the efforts that seafarers have made to keeping the supply chain open despite extremely challenging conditions, but also to ensure that the future being built is one that is fair to them. This is why IMO’s 2021 Day of the Seafarer campaign has chosen the theme of “A Fair Future for Seafarers”.
For a second year in a row, we are marking this day as hundreds of thousands of seafarers continue to face restrictions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Access to repatriation, shore leave and medical support all continue to be a challenge. Although there has been a significant reduction in the number of seafarers caught up in the crew change crisis, the numbers remain unacceptably high.
As key workers, seafarers should be entitled to priority vaccination and allowed to travel without restrictions. IMO continues to urge more IMO Member States to give seafarers their due and designate them as key workers. Currently only 60 IMO member states have designated Seafarers as key workers. IMO will continue to work with sister UN Agencies, industry and member states in support of seafarers.
In his message on the Day of the Seafarer, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said, “Our 2021 Day of the Seafarer campaign builds on the progress to support seafarers on pandemic-related challenges. It aims to draw global attention to all areas where fairness is important. This includes a safe, secure environment on ships, reasonable working conditions, fair treatment in all situations, as well as respect for the rights of all – regardless of race, gender and religion.”
“I am especially pleased that IMO will be amplifying the voices of seafarers themselves as they discuss what a fairer future would look like to them under the hashtag #FairFuture4Seafarers. Seafarers, we are listening – and we will make sure you are heard.”